By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Tuesday got the blessings of President Muhammadu Buhari to travel to Ghana on what he called “Legislative Diplomacy”, over the closure of Nigerian shops in the west African country.
Gbajabiamila had last week said the closure of Nigerian shops in Ghana contravened Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, trade protocols and had called for a decisive solution between both countries.
The Speaker, who arrived the Presidential Villa about 3pm met behind closed doors with the President.
The visit will be part of efforts to sort out the diplomatic misunderstanding between Nigeria and Ghana.
He is expected to leave for the legislative Diplomacy on Wednesday.
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with the President, Gbajabiamila said his mission at the State House was to discussed with President Buhari on the diplomatic row.
According to him, “It’s usual engagement, like we always say when issues come up, I see Mr President and find out and run things by him and we discuss issues. One of the issues we discussed today, I’m leaving for Ghana tomorrow to meet with the Speaker of the parliament in Ghana to look at the issues on ground, as it affects our citizens, and to try and calm things down and see if there’s a way forward.
“I’ll meet with the Speaker tomorrow, I informed the President and he’s aware of every single step that we are taking, all the way and we hope that we’ll come to an amicable settlement one way or the other.
“It’s called Legislative Diplomacy, if you remember very well, during the days when I was Leader of the House, I lead the delegation to South Africa during the crisis there with Nigerians and we were able to accomplish quite a bit, to simmer things down at that time.”
Asked if his consultation would involve demands to the Ghanian government, the Speaker said “no demands, we just going to discuss in the spirit of African Parliaments and we’ll be looking at issues from time to time as they affect African countries and this is one of them.”
Fielding question on the current situation between Nigeria and Ghana, the Speaker said he would rather not speak for now, noting that all efforts should be focused on sorting out the relationship and not heating up the atmosphere with comments.
He said, “I don’t want to make any statement at this time so that we don’t exacerbate matters. Like I said, we are looking for amicable solutions. The Ghanians have their take on what’s going on, we have our own take. We’ll see how we can marry the two takes and come to a solution.
“We are two strong West African countries and there must be symbiosis, we must work together. You don’t get anything from working at cross purposes or knocking heads together. We must, at all times, as Africans, work as best as possible together and that’s what this my trip is about.”
On President Buhari’s opinion on the planned visit to Ghana, he said “he was happy, I believe all avenues must be explored, he believes it, he’s a man of peace who believes every avenue for peace must be exploited, must be explored. Yeah, we are all on the same page.”